When the camera came on today a restless mum was seen fidgeting in the nest and there appeared to be some egg shell to the left side of her. She stood up and turned herself around and briefly revealed the tiny, hatched, new-born chick before she quickly nestled down again. She then began calling loudly and stood up properly just as her partner white leg SS came onto the nest with a rainbow trout. She took the whole fish from him and stood with her back to the camera, obscuring the chick and she began to feed herself by taking great gulps as though she was really hungry.
We noticed yesterday that she only ate a small amount very quickly before calling to him to leave as she settled back down on to the eggs, so perhaps she had not had much to eat since then as she eagerly awaited hatching.
Female feeds herself and attempts first feed for chick
Between her legs we could catch glimpses of the little new-born reaching up, open beaked, waiting for food. Its little body and head is weak and wobbly as it is so young. She offered a morsel down to it a couple of times but then seemed to swallow it herself when the chick didn’t grasp it immediately. She ate about a third of the fish and then settled on top of the young chick and the unhatched second egg.
The male flew off and took the fish.
Male takes over feeding the little one
He returned with it later on and this time he fed himself in the nest and began feeding the chick as she looked on. I don’t think she has quite got the gist of feeding a tiny nestling yet, this is her first born after all.
The family settled down for about an hour and dad left the nest again. On returning a second time she moved right off the chick and egg to the left side of the nest, and dad fed the little one before finishing the rest of the fish for himself. Mum merely preened her feathers and left dad to get on with it. I hope she gets to grips with motherhood duties quickly and also continues to incubate the second egg.
In previous years when SS was with his established and experienced mate he never fed the chicks when they were tiny; he would deliver the whole fish and she would feed them. He has enough work to do already with all the hunting for the family, which is a huge responsibility feeding two adults and young ones.
On Thursday prior to hatching, both birds were at the nest when they were surprised by swarming wood ants. Thousands of insects covered the nest and were crawling all over the birds and eggs too. The female became most unsettled and flew off and the male kept trying to cover the eggs with some lichen. The swarming of the nest continued for up to two hours before they were finally free of the tiny marauders. Wood ants swarm and climb pine trees in search of aphids to milk the honeydew from them. They are most useful in the forest ecological system as they predate on nuisance insects such as looper moth caterpillars and sawfly larvae, but I am pretty sure the ospreys were not appreciative of their ecological benefits as they stormed their nest!
There is a ‘live’ camera at Glentress on the local buzzard nest and they have three chicks. There are lots of crow feathers to the side of the nest and it looks like they have been feeding on crow or jackdaws. The nest has a topping of fresh pine which helps to keep it clean as the food remains attract flies and insects.
Back-up nest chicks
The back-up nest has two chicks and a third egg as yet unhatched. We have just found out that the female is an unringed bird and we do not know if the male is the same bird from last year yet, yellow 8C , or whether it is a completely new pair.
Take a look at the latest exciting footage